High School Students Investigate Mock Crime Scenes for their Final Exam

More than 200 high school juniors and seniors scoured the Nature Study Woods earlier this week in search of clues to solve a crime. It was all part of the forensic science final exam, when mock crime scenes were staged in the woods and the young investigators were brought in to solve the case. 

Students were split into eight groups and processed their “crime scenes” like real forensic examiners, investigators and forensic scientists. They gathered evidence, packaged the evidence properly and maintained it in the chain of custody.

“They are clearly well prepared, and showing it!” said Forensic Science teacher Scott Rubins. “They got to do the real work of real crime scene investigators making what they do in class look authentic.”

Students in Elena Diamantipoulos and Mireille Ptak’s science classes also participated.

Students took their evidence to a laboratory to evaluate before presenting their cases, courtroom style. Students will then present their photos and defend their rationale in how they processed their scenes, requested laboratory documents and arrived at their conclusions.

“We were nervous for a little bit but when we started doing our thing, we got into motion and it was good,” said junior Jacob Wong-Dunn. “We got our rhythm. We just kept pushing each other and saying we got this.”

Several of Mr. Rubins’ former students returned to school to assist with coordinating the exam, grading and serving as “first responders.” Among them were Putnam County Sheriff’s Deputy Victoria Crimmins (NRHS ‘15) and NRPD Officer Anthony Sabatino (NRHS ‘13).

A New Rochelle Police Department officer served as a first responder and helped teachers assess student performance in unraveling the clues.

“The New Rochelle Police Department values the collaboration with Mr. Rubins and his forensic science students,” said New Rochelle Police Commission Robert Gazzola. “Our officers loved interacting with the young crime scene investigators as they diligently worked through solving each crime.”

“As usual, the crime scene final exam is a huge success,” Mr. Rubins said. “They got to do the real work of crime scene investigators, making what they do in class look authentic.”

Superintendent Dr. Corey W. Reynolds, Mayor Yadira Ramos-Herbert, Board of Education President William Iannuzzi, Principal Dagoberto Artiles, Assistant Principal Zahida Aminy and Science Chair Rekha Liveris attended.